3.11 Tohoku - Pacific Ocean Earthquake

Hi, Sorry to keep you waiting! We are behind in updating our website, because of the earthquake in Japan. Three weeks already have passed since it had occurred. Our staff including editors and researchers are gradually coming back to work as normal.

The JpopOtaku office is located in the center of Tokyo, which is around three minutes by foot from the Imperial Palace. When the earthquake happened, I was in my office and getting ready to leave for the day. At first, the quake was weak but it became increasingly strong. As you may know, earthquakes are frequent in Japan, so earthquakes less than magnitude of 3 don't effect our lives much, trains stop 5 minutes at most. However, the shaking of this earthquake was the strongest that I've ever experienced before.

As I realized how serious the situation was, I heard about the sounds of objects crashing and falling repeatedly in the next room. I wanted to open the door to avoid being locked up but I couldn't even stand there. I managed to sit on the side of the bed away from the wall and after few minutes, at long last, the quake died away. Then I checked the gas and turned on TV. It was reported that the earthquake center was 300-500 kilometers away from Tokyo. Judging from near the center of the earthquake, as there was strong likelihood that Tokyo would be hit by tsunami, I decided to go to the roof. From the balcony, I saw many people left building but I couldn't find any buildings that were destroyed or had cracks on the wall. Also, cars were moving. I was afraid at first that there would be big aftershocks and trains would stop, but there weren't any obstacles to the streets in Tokyo except a traffic jam. I decided to go to my the other office and to my house by my bicycle. I emailed with my cell phone to my parents and my girlfriend. They replied promptly that they were all right. Before long, my phone had trouble getting through because of the congestion. There were masses of people who went home by foot as public transportation was shut down.

As it was impossible to determine whether my friends and colleagues were safe, I stayed at home for few days with my girlfriend gathering information. Then I finally learned about tsunami and the nuclear power plant incidents. Although gas, cell phone, and public transportation were shut down, water, electricity and the internet were working in my area, so I was able to acquire the details about situation at the epicenter of the earthquake on TV. At first, tsunami damage was headlined and accident of the nuclear power plant wasn't reported so much. Many people believe that if the electric power company and the government had handled the situation properly since the beginning, the problem wouldn't have become so severe as it is now, and Tokyo would have returned to normal more quickly.

However, as is known, one of the power plants near epicenter caused a severe problem. That triggered mass displacement of people who were scared by radioactivity from eastern to western part of Japan. Also planned electricity outages have started.

Tokyo Big Sight, which is the biggest convention hall, was damaged on the wall but has been used as a place for evacuees. Therefore, "Reitaisai", which is the biggest Toho only event in Japan, was cancelled. Most of concerts or events hereafter have not been rescheduled. In addition, some of companies already went bankrupt due to the destruction from the earthquake.

We wanted to report you for "Mikupa"; Hatsune Miku Live Party, but we couldn't do it. There is a strong possibility that big events won't be held for long time. I can't say anything except that future prospects are uncertain at this point in time.

As for radiation damage, the government's announcement is all we know. There have been rumors that nuclear power plants are in danger. Also many people are extremely concerned about our future in Japan. These two things may cause some economic stagnation.

Anyway, all staff in Tokyo are fine. Thank you for your support from around the world. I hope that it returns to normal, and send you new reports soon..
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